Totem Acoustic Owner's Thread - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 495 Old 06-20-2009, 11:48 PM
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Congrats thunderrush - I just received my new McIntosh AVP861 hooked up tp my Hawks via a tube amp.

Haven't spent much time with it yet, but the little I have, especially DVD-Audio - WOW. Will be swapping my Energy Veritas in there soon just to see how they sound, but very happy with the Hawks.

Amazing the sound from such small speaker with only two drivers, but maybe that's why brand new they're so 'expensive' (you get what you pay for).

"it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it"
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post #92 of 495 Old 06-22-2009, 03:34 PM
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Hi everyone,

Funny how these things work, a month ago I had decided to go cheap and get a set of Paradigm Cinema series.. then I went to the dealer and did a simple A/B.. I knew it would be bad, but ...

now I'm in the room with our new Totem Hawks. We decided to go with maple but are disappointed with the fact the corners do not have a maple veneer. Instead it is a darker brown colour, which is distracting and takes away a lot of the elegance of the speakers.

I know other Totem speakers are all the same colour veneer, and they look a lot nicer. I'm just wondering if the difference is visually this extreme for everyone, or maybe I got an off set (they are brand new - the dealer is "checking on it" but says his rep is away for a few days).

Here are pics for comparison:

zooid.org/~vid/tmp/totem/

Thanks for any comments!
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post #93 of 495 Old 06-22-2009, 04:19 PM
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I have never seen the Maple Hawks with the dark corner, yuk. Call the factory and ask them whats up. 514 259 1062. Or call Steve Libin the USA sales manager @ 714 963 8649
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post #94 of 495 Old 06-22-2009, 04:31 PM
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Wow, same here, every Totem I've ever seen were uniform in color. take a look at their website: http://totemacoustic.com/products/columns/forest/ All uniform. Also how come yours don't have a dot on the tweeter?
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post #95 of 495 Old 06-22-2009, 04:35 PM
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Thanks Chicagorep. Another comment would be appreciated, or could someone post a comparable pic of their Hawks?

The point is definitely the sound quality, but we have a very bright loft which highlights the visual difference, it is just too weird considering Totems do cater to visual as well as audio senses.
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post #96 of 495 Old 06-22-2009, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandarf View Post

Wow, same here, every Totem I've ever seen were uniform in color. take a look at their website: http://totemacoustic.com/products/columns/forest/ All uniform. Also how come yours don't have a dot on the tweeter?

Hi Grandarf,

These are Hawks, so they could be different visually than Forest.. but it just doesn't make any sense.

There is a purple dot on the tweeter, is there an interpretation for that? I'd trust everyone gets the same quality (I paid full negotiated price at the second dealer I visited).

To be honest I do see some problems in the build quality, rough edges on the port cuts, sawdust, I'm ok with that if the speakers sound as good as they can, but I haven't fully unpacked them due to issues.
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post #97 of 495 Old 06-22-2009, 06:18 PM
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Yeah I know that they're Hawks but all the Totem speakers have normally uniform colors. Haven't seen any Totem speaker: Model1, RainMakers, Arro, Sttafs, Hawks, Forests, Mani-2, DreamCatcher, Shaman, etc. which would have two tones like the ones on your pic. I really doubt the Hawks are the only speakers which would have a special veneer like that...

Here's a couple pics:
http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/view_...mage_id=989917
http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/spe...25/259815.html
http://pic8.audiogon.com/i/c/f/1244775575.jpg

It almost looks like yours are unfinished...!!! Way I see it, there's two possibilities, well in both case, the cabinet itself (square), is made of MDF. Then on top of that, they can either add a solid piece of maple and cut it at a ~45 degree to give it the angles in front and back of the speakers, or, they use something else or cut the 45 degree, and then put veneer on top of that... But yours seem way way too dark on the side... Do you have a pic of the whole speaker? I'd be curious to see how it looks with the complete speaker...

Btw, totem uses different dot colors to indicate version... Also, just like the beaks, they work in mysterious ways to make the speakers sound better
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post #98 of 495 Old 06-22-2009, 06:58 PM
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Those may have been customed finished for a client who decided not to buy. Call Steve in the morning and ask him.
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post #99 of 495 Old 06-23-2009, 03:15 AM
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Thanks Chicagorep and Grandarf. I definitely think something is wrong here, and these are not going in our living room.

They are all packed up now so can't take another pic. We'll be contacting the dealer / Totem to sort this out. Disappointing but no big deal in the long run.
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post #100 of 495 Old 06-23-2009, 07:53 AM
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I called Totem to speak about this. The rep (forgot to get his name!) said that this is "normal" with the Hawk and Rainmaker in Maple. Thing is, it's not at all evident in their brochure. A scan is at http://zooid.org/vid/tmp/totem/Totem...leBrochure.png, sorry if it's a bit dithered (compare to http://zooid.org/vid/tmp/totem/P1040093.JPG ), but while there could be a slight difference in finishing, it's not nearly as evident as it is on my set.

If anyone has maple Hawks, input would be appreciated. If this is normal (and I guess they'd know) they should change their brochure, and hopefully this can be a warning to people. Not sure what we'll do, the Forests are too big for us and the Sttaf too small, and I like what I'd read about the relative tonal balance of the Hawk for our room.

I feel kinda like I bought a nice car that yes, drives well, but has unexpected polka dots all over it.
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post #101 of 495 Old 06-23-2009, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostriluu View Post

I called Totem to speak about this. The rep (forgot to get his name!) said that this is "normal" with the Hawk and Rainmaker in Maple. Thing is, it's not at all evident in their brochure. A scan is at http://zooid.org/vid/tmp/totem/Totem...leBrochure.png, sorry if it's a bit dithered (compare to http://zooid.org/vid/tmp/totem/P1040093.JPG ), but while there could be a slight difference in finishing, it's not nearly as evident as it is on my set.

If anyone has maple Hawks, input would be appreciated. If this is normal (and I guess they'd know) they should change their brochure, and hopefully this can be a warning to people. Not sure what we'll do, the Forests are too big for us and the Sttaf too small, and I like what I'd read about the relative tonal balance of the Hawk for our room.

I feel kinda like I bought a nice car that yes, drives well, but has unexpected polka dots all over it.

I talked to Nico at Totem on your behalf today and he said he spoke with you. Looks like that edge is normal. Yuk
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post #102 of 495 Old 06-23-2009, 07:10 PM
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No something is definitely not right...

Quote:


that this is "normal" with the Hawk and Rainmaker in Maple

Check out this page, a bunch of Hawks in maple, http://www.totemacoustic.com/about/mission-vision/ doesn't seem to have the dark brown sides like yours...

Here are some RainMakers in maple: http://www.fredsoundofmusic.com/totem%20vpi%20rotel.jpg

Here's another pic with Hawks in maple: http://www.baybloorradio.com/totem/totemcolumns.html

As I said earlier, they probably use a solid piece of wood (not MDF) for the front and the back, but for some reason, the maple, well, that other type of wood they used on this hawk just seems to not fit at all with the maple finish... Don't know if maybe they bought something cheaper, or just got a batch of wood with a different color, but there's definitely something 'wrong' with it imho...

btw, Sttafs have a very different sound than Hawks, a much more warm sound... So a very significant difference there, the Forests though have a more similar sound to the Hawks... But like you said, more expensive... You could always go used... There's a couple forests on audiogon.com for 2k or less, but no maple for now... But you said they were too big... How could they be too big? They're really just a little tiny bit bigger than the Hawks!

And actually, you can see from the 1st pic of this post what I meant about the solid wood piece for the front and back baffle... Same color as the front so it doesn't look like it's veneer. Not sure of the price of maple vs other woods, maybe it's more expensive and the 'had' to use another cheaper wood which 'used' to look similar to the maple veneer they used... I know the Hawk uses a scan speak revelator woofer, which is probably the most expensive woofer in the Totem lineup (compared to HiVi and the such)... So maybe in these troubled times, with the Hawks, who's driver might cost more than 2x the price of the Forest drivers for example, yet sell for less, they try to cut where they can to make it a more profitable speaker...

Anyhow, one thing which is sure, yours don't remind me of any Totem speaker I've ever seen... And I've seen a lot, at least... 2 or 3...
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post #103 of 495 Old 06-24-2009, 07:05 AM
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Thanks for the follow ups! I would say "unfinished" is definitely how these speakers look. Despite all the images contrary, after the discussion with the Totem rep I have to conclude this is "normal." However, it's ugly (compared to their other models), the aesthetics of a country door frame on a speaker? I've had thoughts of touching up with latex paint, but that's madness.

The Forest could be an option, but I'm already way over my original budget, and haven't got an receiver yet (though I've lined up a used Yamaha rx-v1900 which should keep me happy for a while). To be honest I prefer the even less obtrusive dimensions of the Sttaff, it was only the fuller sound of the Hawk (along with a guess about room size, I don't find listening rooms very informative) that resulted in the upgrade. Plus from what I've read about Forest they would require much more amplification and I really don't want to get into that cascade.

Talking it over with my partner, lucky to be with someone who values both sound qualites and aesthetics as much as I do.
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post #104 of 495 Old 06-24-2009, 07:52 AM
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Know what, I somewhat hate to do this, but how likely are you to keep these Hawks? It's really surprising that Totem would... fail... at something like finish... But anyhow... For less than the price of the Hawks, you could look into the Jim Salk Songtowers... http://salksound.com/speakers_songse...t_images.shtml For 1800$ you can get the maple veneer, and unlike the smaller Sttafs they're neutral speakers... And for 2000$ (+ couple of other fees though), you could get a 'crazy' finish... They've been getting very good press since their release. Though I think they're also quite a bit bigger than the Hawks... Errr... 44.5" H x 8" W x 12" D vs 34.3 x 6.8 x 9.6", even bigger than Forests 34.3 x 7.7 x 10.6

Or anyhow, you could just go with another veneer for the Hawks...
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post #105 of 495 Old 06-24-2009, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandarf View Post

Know what, I somewhat hate to do this, but how likely are you to keep these Hawks? It's really surprising that Totem would... fail... at something like finish... But anyhow... For less than the price of the Hawks, you could look into the Jim Salk Songtowers... http://salksound.com/speakers_songse...t_images.shtml For 1800$ you can get the maple veneer, and unlike the smaller Sttafs they're neutral speakers... And for 2000$ (+ couple of other fees though), you could get a 'crazy' finish... They've been getting very good press since their release.

Or anyhow, you could just go with another veneer for the Hawks...

Owch. I'm sure you know how much anguish it can be to go through this selection process. It's more of an obsession than anything and while it can be absorbing.. after a while... I'll be quite happy to get it over with and actually enjoy the sound (or at least go on to fine tuning it).

We were quite happy to settle with the Hawks after research and a bit of showroom listening (I'm amazed when I read about people getting the speakers to demo in their homes), and since we're based in Montreal and Totem is 30 minutes from here (we wondered about going to the factory and seeing finishes for ourselves) it feels like a direct economic injection. Therefore this whole finish thing has been an unpleasant surprise. I'm not sure if the dealer would give us a complete refund, though they should since we haven't used the speakers, just opened the boxes in delight, took pics in disappointment, packed them up. Nico @ Totem did say we could deal with them directly if the dealer can't help us.

Going with another finish is an option, but we found the maple finish to be perfect for our environment. So close yet so far.
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post #106 of 495 Old 06-24-2009, 08:53 AM
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Hmm... Audioville is a reputable shop so you shouldn't have any problem getting a refund... I think... Since you actually didn't get what you wanted...

Happy St-Jean btw Heading to the parade on Sherbrooke in a couple of minutes to snap some pics.

Anyhow, I'm really too curious about what would push Totem to put a different side baffle coloration on Hawks... I really think it's cost related. But I still can't believe that's how it is now. They could have just charged a little extra for the maple... I'm sure people wanting maple finish would have been happier to pay a little extra and get 'full' maple...

Anyhow, it doesn't seem that bad... some bought some av 123 .com speakers, and the veneer was 10x worst... they were hoping say for a brown 33% line centered around maple color, and got something like 90% maple with all crooked brown sides... anyhow, yours is different than full maple... How does it look overall on the speakers? pic?
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post #107 of 495 Old 06-24-2009, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandarf View Post

Hmm... Audioville is a reputable shop so you shouldn't have any problem getting a refund... I think... Since you actually didn't get what you wanted...

Happy St-Jean btw Heading to the parade on Sherbrooke in a couple of minutes to snap some pics.

Anyhow, I'm really too curious about what would push Totem to put a different side baffle coloration on Hawks... I really think it's cost related. But I still can't believe that's how it is now. They could have just charged a little extra for the maple... I'm sure people wanting maple finish would have been happier to pay a little extra and get 'full' maple...

Anyhow, it doesn't seem that bad... some bought some av 123 .com speakers, and the veneer was 10x worst... they were hoping say for a brown 33% line centered around maple color, and got something like 90% maple with all crooked brown sides... anyhow, yours is different than full maple... How does it look overall on the speakers? pic?

Can't really take pics right now since they're boxed up, but basically you can extrapolate from http://zooid.org/~vid/tmp/totem/P1040093.JPG - rather than the minimalist uniform appearance one sees on the Arros, Sttaff and Forest, and in their advertising, you have a two-tone combination of wood and plastic-y MDF.

We did spend about an hour in Audioville, but ended up buying these speakers (with a Mite centre) at la Boutique Electronique. Nothing wrong with Audioville, Steve was accommodating, but LBE carries Yamaha (was hoping to buy as a set) and has better opening hours for us. Also I don't like bargaining and LBE offered a lower price off the bat.

As for SJB, stuck inside working today which is really a shame, though I did check out some celebrations last night. Enjoy!
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post #108 of 495 Old 06-24-2009, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Thunder-rush View Post

I just picked a pair of Totem arro from a guy for $350 and I am amazed how these small speakers sound, the speakers are in great shape he told me they got about 60hrs on them so they should improve a bit. I still cant believe the bass and sound they put for their size. Compared to the x-statiks I have, the mids are more recesed but the highs and sound seems fuller at low volume even if the other speaker has 4 6"drivers. The statiks sound bigger at higher volume and in HT as expected but in a small room at normal 80db playing a intimate session with a good wine I'd prefer the Totem, I even crossed them at 80hz with a MFW-15 to see what they got and cranked The Police certifiable Blueray and they rocked..! Just one of the best purchases I've ever made..

This is a good deal. I have a pair also. I very love it. The bass is very good for a small driver. I put the Claws on it, it is very good.
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post #109 of 495 Old 06-25-2009, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostriluu View Post

Can't really take pics right now since they're boxed up, but basically you can extrapolate from http://zooid.org/~vid/tmp/totem/P1040093.JPG - rather than the minimalist uniform appearance one sees on the Arros, Sttaff and Forest, and in their advertising, you have a two-tone combination of wood and plastic-y MDF.

We did spend about an hour in Audioville, but ended up buying these speakers (with a Mite centre) at la Boutique Electronique. Nothing wrong with Audioville, Steve was accommodating, but LBE carries Yamaha (was hoping to buy as a set) and has better opening hours for us. Also I don't like bargaining and LBE offered a lower price off the bat.

As for SJB, stuck inside working today which is really a shame, though I did check out some celebrations last night. Enjoy!

Ah LBE... Wasn't aware there was another Totem dealer in Mtl What's weird is that Totem Acoustic shows as a dealer on their site... Hmmm... Wonder if they sell Totems directly. Let us know what happens!
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post #110 of 495 Old 06-25-2009, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagorep View Post

I Just spent the day listening to Forests, OMG. They are so sweet.

I bought a new pair of Forests late last year and I am really, really happy with them. Incredible speakers, even better than my Totem Acoustic Hawks! I need to hear the new Wind Design Series, but then again, maybe I do NOT need to hear them........
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post #111 of 495 Old 06-25-2009, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostriluu View Post

Thanks Chicagorep. Another comment would be appreciated, or could someone post a comparable pic of their Hawks?

The point is definitely the sound quality, but we have a very bright loft which highlights the visual difference, it is just too weird considering Totems do cater to visual as well as audio senses.

Here are a couple of pictures of mine. Totem does not use real wood corners on the Hawks like they do on their "higher end" models, instead staining the mdf to match as closely as possible with the real wood veneer. But even mine do not match exactly.




Yours are definitely odd looking with the darker corners...if it bothers you a lot, I would see if you can exchange them..
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post #112 of 495 Old 06-25-2009, 05:48 PM
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...and here you can see my Rainmakers in maple... the corners are no where near as dark as on your Hawks.
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post #113 of 495 Old 06-26-2009, 07:11 AM
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Thanks shiznit.. clearly our set is an extreme contrast. We're waiting for the dealer to contact us today for next steps.

In other news, the lightly used Yamaha rx-v1900 I had lined up sold before I could get it. I had really settled on that amp as being a good combination of broad features (including bi-amping to drive the Totems) and well regarded sound (the newest Yamahas are considered not as good), plus a nice, functional appearance (so many receivers are what I consider ugly; shiny black plastic and too many buttons on the front). So back to square one on that one. :| I don't really want to get into an expensive receiver right now, though leave the option open for an external amp.

Who needs reality TV when you have blow by blow purchasing anguish?
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post #114 of 495 Old 06-26-2009, 09:34 AM
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The bi-amping you're talking about is pretty much biwiring I believe. I mean, the amp has 1 power supply, so that's what you'd be using, you'd just be using two wires from the same amp, which is pretty much a gimmick: No more power available...

Not sure how much you're into gimmicks and snake oil, if unlike Totem you're not, you could look into pro gear. For a fraction of the price, you'll get a lot more power vs overprice audiophile gear. Plenty of blind tests show that well designed and performing amps are nearly indistinguable. aka: a 200$ pro amp vs 5000$ audiophile amp = no difference... Behringer A500 (200$?) vs YBA 2A (3000) = people scratching their heads trying to hear differences...

http://translate.google.ca/translate...hl=en&ie=UTF-8 (click on 3rd link on left for blind comparisons).
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post #115 of 495 Old 06-26-2009, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandarf View Post

The bi-amping you're talking about is pretty much biwiring I believe. I mean, the amp has 1 power supply, so that's what you'd be using, you'd just be using two wires from the same amp, which is pretty much a gimmick: No more power available...

Not sure how much you're into gimmicks and snake oil, if unlike Totem you're not, you could look into pro gear. For a fraction of the price, you'll get a lot more power vs overprice audiophile gear. Plenty of blind tests show that well designed and performing amps are nearly indistinguable. aka: a 200$ pro amp vs 5000$ audiophile amp = no difference... Behringer A500 (200$?) vs YBA 2A (3000) = people scratching their heads trying to hear differences...

http://translate.google.ca/translate...hl=en&ie=UTF-8 (click on 3rd link on left for blind comparisons).

Re: Totem snake oil, are you referring to the beaks? I won't need them, I found if I place a zucchini on the floor 41.7 cm from the speakers, it makes a huge difference.Though it's difficult finding exactly the right zucchini, I can't always get access to the mainframe.

Or is there other Totem snake oil to be wary of?

I'm fully aware of the subjectiveness of this pursuit, and I hate gimmicks, as much as I can avoid them. It makes sense to me that (for an amp) power is power, and anything else is colouration (how do you colour watts/amps?) - but sometimes we have to follow the crazy guru to get some actual wisdom that's there. I avoid altogether any effects, am buying larger speakers to eschew a subwoofer, and would get the flattest system I could get if I didn't know that every sound engineer tweak, room acoustic, physiological difference and mood (frustration, at the moment) affects the total sound. For example, I had a set of Paradigm monitors in the past, and found they sounded very flat, they had no life to them. But I realize on these Totems, some cherished recordings are going to sound great, some lousy (it didn't help that the first shop I went to blamed the sound on my recording when I knew the engineers were good - just different than what he had for demo material).

I have to rely on people's comments to try to find a satisfactory system without going completely insane spending money and time on the most exotic components possible. I'm hoping in my environment (when I can actually listen to them) they will be good, for the most part. I just want good sound, good appearance, a versatile but simplified setup (eg full HDMI 1.3a feature support), reasonable future-readiness and environmental consideration (low power and heat standby and integration with other components). I don't want a full time hobby/money pit (I'd be at almost twice what I originally wanted to spend with a new receiver).

End of rant!

I thought bi-wiring would make sense since the Yamaha has two spare channels, are you saying it comes out of a reserve pool, so would be the same, rather than a certain amount allocated to each channel? (It's a 7.1 amp, I'd only be 5.1). I'd be happy to hear that to save money on speaker wire.

I'd be fine buying a medium-end mainstream Yamaha receiver for the features I want and later add a Behringer or whichever amp, though I really want to get to a plateau and move on as soon as possible.

LBE/Totem offered to upgrade us to Forests for a reduced price, but we're feeling more inclined to downgrade to Sttaff instead since the Forest would require an even larger amp and the Mite centre would be disproportionate. However I know the Sttaff is considered to be more coloured, the Hawk is considered a more neutral speaker.
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post #116 of 495 Old 06-26-2009, 11:57 AM
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LBE/Totem offered to upgrade us to Forests for a break in price, but we're feeling more inclined to downgrade to Sttaff instead since the Forest would require an even larger amp and the Mite centre would be disproportionate. However I know the Sttaff is considered to be more coloured, the Hawk is considered a more neutral speaker.[/quote]

When I demo the Forests I use a Parasound 275 amp, which is only rated at 75 w per channel. The Forest sound absolutely amazing. Even Vince Bruzzese was impressed with the sound. The Pre is a Parasound 2100.

I don't think bi-amping will make a big difference but you could Bi-wire if you so choose.
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post #117 of 495 Old 06-26-2009, 01:24 PM
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If you have the chance and the price is right, upgrade to the Forests and do not look back. They should actually be easier to drive than the Hawks because they are rated at 8 ohms and the Hawks are 4 ohms... I love my Forests, more so than my Hawks...

What exactly do you mean by "break in price" anyways?
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post #118 of 495 Old 06-26-2009, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shiznit View Post

If you have the chance and the price is right, upgrade to the Forests and do not look back. They should actually be easier to drive than the Hawks because they are rated at 8 ohms and the Hawks are 4 ohms... I love my Forests, more so than my Hawks...

What exactly do you mean by "break in price" anyways?

I meant Totem was offering a break in the price because of the trouble (I believe it borders on misleading, though they claim it only really shows up in natural light - our place is a loft with big windows and the photos show it is quite distinct. Buyer beware and I hope they clarify this situation).

The dealer's description was the Hawk has a more accurate sound, but the Forest can play louder - the former depends who you ask. We don't plan to play too loud. The Hawks are 6 ohm, and the consensus on the net and dealers we spoke to was Forest requires more to drive. I don't know. We prefer smaller, and are feeling kind of shell shocked after all this (and our original budget was half what we're looking at total), so I think we'll stick with Hawks.

I am now going to track down some reviews that are exclusively in favour of the RX-V1900 and get this over with.

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post #119 of 495 Old 06-26-2009, 02:05 PM
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Have posted a full size pic of the maple hawks so you can see the border. I took the shot to try to deemphasize the border, hard to believe one could take a picture where it is not obvious.

http://zooid.org/~vid/tmp/totem/hawks_full_kitty.jpg

Anyway, enough obsessing.
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post #120 of 495 Old 06-26-2009, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostriluu View Post

Have posted a full size pic of the maple hawks so you can see the border. I took the shot to try to deemphasize the border, hard to believe one could take a picture where it is not obvious.

http://zooid.org/~vid/tmp/totem/hawks_full_kitty.jpg

Anyway, enough obsessing.

They really don't look that bad in that shot..

But if you decide to swap speakers, the finish will be similar on the Staffs as I believe they stain the mdf on the corners to try and match the wood veneer just as they do with the Hawks.. You don't know what you are going to get with Totems as far as the overall finish is concerned.. they might have used a different glue in the mdf that day, or a slightly different stain causing your corners to turn out dark like that..

Regarding the Forests and Hawks, the Forests can definitely play louder which means the bass has more weight and impact for one, and then there is dynamics too.. I do not believe one is more accurate than the other, really.. I think the Forest is a lot more sensitive to the room though. I have heard the Forest sound horribly at one dealer and great at another, yet anywhere and anyplace I have heard the Hawks, they sounded great.. The Forests sound fantastic in my room which is fairly large with vaulted ceilings and opened door ways. As you can tell, I am a huge Totem fan, and if you love the Hawks, you will pretty much love any speaker in the Totem familiy..
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